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Norman Robbins
Humpty Dumpty

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Synopsis

Humpty Dumpty is a pantomime for nine men and five women plus chorus. Mother Goose, fairy godmother to all, has ensured the smooth running of Nursery-rhyme Land for years. King Florimund XIV is on his throne, everyone is happy and most important of all, Humpty Dumpty is still in his egg on top of the palace wall. But one day Humpty has a great fall and all mayhem is ualeashed. Grimm, a repulsive henchman to the wicked Sorcerer Monstro, is sent in search of victims for his master's "transformation machine" and Florimundís right-hand men, Powder and Shott, are no match for him. Humpty, lovable naive and possessed of limited magical powers, unwittingly brings about the collapse of Nurserrhyme Land and then loses his magic at the crucial moment. But all is not lost, and like the best nursery rhymes the evil ones get their come-uppance and the good ones their partners: Florimund and Dame Dobb, Jack and Polly, even Tommy manages to persuade quite contrary Mary, and Humpty has his magical powers restored.

Author's Note

Humpty Dumpty was first performed at the Grand Pavilion Theatre, Porthcawl, Mid Glamorgan, on December 26th, 1981, and directed by the author.

This version has been specially adapted for amateurs, but differs only slightly from the original. Staging has been simplified to suit the average church hall or small theatre, and lighting, special effects and properties kept to a minimum. Songs and dances are left to the discretion of the directors. The running time of the show is 2 hours 20 minutes, including a 12 minute interval.

For the sword fights in Act II, Scene 5, it is suggested that participants use fencing foils with button points for safety, and rehearse the fights most carefully.

The eggshell shards in Act I Scene 1 are easily made with tinted polystyrene tiles, broken into fairly large segments.

The Lake Monster is simply another version of the "Ghost" gag, but instead of a white sheet, a "tie-dye" one is used and bedecked with dark green and brown mesh, fish scales, claw hands and rubber fright mask. However, one can substitute with whatever is available, from the Incredible Hulk to the Frankenstein Monster.

Costumes and scenery should be as stylized as possible and the pace of the show brisk.

Cast

Mother Goose, fairy godmother to all
Jack Spratt, a village boy
Polly Flinders, his sweetheart
Tommy Tittlemouse, a village boy
Mary Quite Contrary, his sweetheart and ward of the King
Grimm, henchman to the Sorcerer
Dame Dobb, housekeeper to the King
Humpty Dumpty, a magical being
King Florimund XTV of Nursery-rhyme Land
Powder, Shott, two of the Kingís men
Monstro, The Sorcerer, a hunchbacked goblin of great size
Page
Little Bo-peep
Lake Monster
Chorus of Nursery-rhyme Characters, Courtiers, Guests, Snow Spirits, Gypsies, Prisoners of Monstro, Clockwork Dolls, Pretty Maids and Gardeners, and Guards
Babes chorus of Palace Children, Nursery-rhyme Charac-ters, Pages in the Palace, Snow Spirits, Gypsy Children, Mice, Clockwork Dolls

Dedication

For Liz and Dann Perkins of Eau Claire, Wisconsin, USA and Margaret (Peggy) Murray of Ames, Iowa, USA. With mant thanks for all the hospitality and friendship.

Copyright © Norman Robbins 1982